Faculty Instructional Load – 403.13

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University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Policy Name: Faculty Instructional Load
Policy Number: 403.13 (formerly 443.0)
Effective Date: September 13, 1994

Purpose

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is a comprehensive, metropolitan university with a tripartite mission: to develop the intellect of students, to discover and disseminate knowledge, and to serve and strengthen society.

The goal of the UALR Faculty Instructional Load Policy is to distribute responsibilities among faculty in a way that most equitably and efficiently advances this tripartite mission of teaching, research or creative activity, and service. Consistent with the university’s complexity and with its role as a metropolitan university committed to diversity, the policy is designed to protect and promote the multiplicity of faculty roles. The policy is designed to promote quality teaching, research or creative activity, and service. It is also designed to enable colleges and schools, departments, and individual faculty to pursue, plan for, and recognize the fact that different individuals and units will have different objectives and will make different commitments among the three faculty roles.

The policy is designed to balance four concerns:

  1. Equity. Decisions about instructional load must be made to ensure fairness among all faculty.
  2. Diversity. Decisions about instructional load must recognize the diverse strengths of faculty, promoting excellence in teaching, research or creative activity, and service.
  3. Instructional Needs. Decisions about instructional load must reflect the university’s responsibility to meet instructional needs, offering quality education to students in all general education and degree programs.
  4. Resources. Decisions about instructional load must achieve a realistic and efficient allocation of existing faculty resources, full- and part-time.

Policy

Consistent with state policy and university mission, the standard instructional load for full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is twelve instructional units (IUs) per semester. An instructional unit (IU) normally reflects a regular credit hour, which normally reflects a contact hour. The IU is used to account for differences between contact and credit hours. The section in this policy on “Equivalencies” explains the relationship between credit hours, contact hours, and instructional units. The standard instructional load for full-time faculty who are not tenured or tenure-track is established according to program by the provost in consultation with the appropriate dean and chair.

Instruction involves much more than simply time in classroom: developing, planning, and revising curriculum; preparing lectures; advising and conferring with students; designing, responding to, and evaluating assignments—these activities are all part of normal instructional duties.

Along with instructional responsibilities, faculty are expected to actively pursue research or creative activity to improve their instruction and extend their disciplinary knowledge; additionally, they are expected to engage in university, professional, and public service.

To enable faculty to promote the teaching, research, and service missions of the university, a faculty member’s teaching commitment for a semester may be reduced through reassignment or through use of backed IUs (see below). Such reductions must be consistent with disciplinary accreditation standards and with resources of the department, the college or school, and the university.

Administrative Reassignments

Chairs, program coordinators, and directors may be assigned between three to nine instructional units a semester for administrative duties, with six units reassignment the norm for chairs and three units reassignment the norm for coordinators and directors. This reassignment will be recommended by the appropriate dean and reviewed by the provost. It will not need to be re-established each year unless circumstances have significantly changed. The amount of reassigned time will depend on factors such as the number of full- and part-time faculty in the department, the amount of part-time faculty or graduate student supervision, enrollments, majors and minors, advising duties, program diversity, and service activities.

Reassignments

Faculty not on administrative assignments may request up to three units (or more, in unusual circumstances) reassigned time for other purposes. Reassignment will be recommended by the chair, subject to review by the dean, and will be contingent upon departmental instructional needs as well as upon evidence of continued achievement. Reassignment may be made for reasons including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Externally supported grants
  • Research or creative activity
  • Curriculum and program development
  • Public or professional service
  • Service to a discipline (e.g., editorships)
  • Departmental service (e.g. preparation of accreditation studies)
  • Professional development (e.g., first-year faculty)

Requests for more than three units reassignment will normally require “buy-out” by an externally funded grant.

Equivalencies

Most instruction is offered as lectures, discussions, and seminars, where contact hours are equal to credit hours. For such courses, each undergraduate credit hour (CH) is equivalent to one instructional unit (IU). Alternate instructional modes will be assigned the following equivalencies:

Graduate lecture/discussion/seminar courses

1 credit hour (CH) = 1 to 2 instructional units (IUs). The typical ratio will be 1 CH = 1.33 IUs. This ratio derives from the assumption that teaching three graduate courses is equivalent to teaching four undergraduate courses. The higher ratios (1 CH = up to 2 IUs) will be appropriate for very large classes, new preparations, or otherwise challenging graduate courses. Likewise, the lower ratio (1 CH = 1 IU) will be appropriate for smaller or less challenging classes. The appropriate ratio will be recommended by the chair and reviewed by the dean.

Activity courses: labs; studio courses in art, music, theatre

1 credit hour (CH) = 1 to 3 instructional units (IUs)
The typical ratio will be 1 CH = 1.33 IUs (which credits two instructional units for each three contact hours and which assumes that one CH equals two contact hours). Higher ratios (those that are above 1 CH = 1.33 IUs) will be appropriate for labs or other activity courses that involve more contact hours, are very large, involve extensive preparation, and/or lack assistance. Likewise, the lower ratio (1 CH = 1 IU) will be appropriate for activity courses with fewer contact hours, are small, require less preparation, and/or have greater assistance. The appropriate ratio will be recommended by the chair and reviewed by the dean.

Individualized instruction; independent study; internships; field experiences and practicums; undergraduate honors and Donaghey Scholars theses

1 student (earning 3 CH) = .30 to .60 instructional units (IUs). (Supervising 5 to 10 students is equivalent to teaching a three-hour lecture/discussion course.) The typical ratio will be one student = .375 IUs, or supervising eight students is equivalent to teaching a three-hour lecture/discussion course. Higher ratios (up to 1 student = .60 IUs, or supervising 5 students is equivalent to teaching a three hour lecture/discussion course) will be appropriate when the individualized instruction involves significantly more supervisory responsibilities. Likewise, lower ratios (down to 1 student = .30 IUs, or supervising 10 students is equivalent to teaching a three-hour lecture/discussion course) will be appropriate when the individualized instruction involves less direct supervision or involvement. The appropriate ratio will be recommended by the chair and reviewed by the dean.

Thesis or other final project (Master’s)—Major advisor, two semesters maximum per student

1 student = .375 to .75 instructional units (IUs) (Directing four to eight students is equivalent to teaching a three-hour lecture/discussion course.) The typical ratio will be 1 student = .50 IUs, or directing six students in master’s theses is equivalent to teaching a three-hour lecture/discussion course. The appropriate ratio will be recommended by the chair and reviewed by the dean.

Dissertation (Doctoral)—Major advisor, two semesters maximum per student

1 student = .50 to 1 instructional unit (IU) (Directing three to six students is equivalent to teaching a three-hour lecture/discussion course.) The typical ratio will be one student = .75 IU, or directing four students in dissertations, is equivalent to teaching a three-hour lecture/discussion course. The appropriate ratio will be recommended by the chair and reviewed by the dean.

Unusually large classes

1 credit hour (CH) = 1.33 to two instructional units (IUs). This ratio derives from the assumption that teaching three unusually large classes is equivalent to teaching four normal size classes.
The chair will recommend, subject to review by the dean, class size standards that are appropriate to each discipline and consistent with maintaining educational quality. The appropriate ratio for crediting unusually large classes will be recommended by the chair and reviewed by the dean.

Banking

Individual units may be banked when a faculty member exceeds the standard load of 12 instructional units excluding courses taught as an overload for which a faculty member receives extra compensation. Up to nine instructional units (IUs) may be banked and may be a basis for a reduction in teaching responsibilities in a later semester.

Use of banked instructional units requires approval by the chair and dean. Additionally, the faculty member and chair should review a faculty member’s plan to bank instructional units for a later semester. For a faculty member granted a reduction in teaching responsibilities through use of banked IUs, the reduction will not be a negative factor in promotion or tenure decisions.

An individual may carry over a maximum of nine IUs each academic year; in other words, any IUs over nine are lost at the end of the academic year. Banked instructional units are not transferable from one individual to another; nor may they be converted to any form of compensation. All banked instruction units are lost when a faculty member separates from the university.

Procedures

  1. Each spring, department chairs, in consultation with faculty or appropriate department committees, will draw up plans for teaching assignments and reassignments for the following year. These plans will be consistent with departmental resources and productivity expectations. Chairs will submit plans to the deans for review.
  2. Lecturer funds will be allocated to departments by deans in light of departmental teaching leads, instructional needs, and productivity expectations. Each college or school will establish a means by which additional lecturer funds may be allocated when departments justify additional reassignments.
  3. As individual’s request for reassignment will include a written proposal. Guidelines for reassignment proposals will be established by the department and, if appropriate, the college. Approved proposals will be included as part of the annual review process as well as of the promotion and tenure process. When appropriate, departments will be involved in evaluating reassignment proposals and establishing departmental priorities for reassignment.
  4. Departmental plans for modifying class sizes, frequency of offerings, or curriculum in order to use faculty resources more effectively must be submitted to the dean for review.
  5. Faculty and chairs will maintain annual workload descriptions, recording each year’s teaching assignments, equivalencies, and reassignments.

Review, Recognition, and Reward

Annual workload descriptions will be included in both annual review and promotion and tenure portfolios. All activity, including that for which reassignment was granted, will be documented and evaluated. The award of future reassignments will be contingent upon demonstrated achievements.

Committee Recommendations
  1. Each college or school should develop and publish its own guidelines for faculty teaching assignments, equivalencies, and procedures, consistent with the university-wide guidelines.
  2. The College of Education should develop appropriate equivalencies for student teaching supervision consistent with NCATE guidelines, for incorporation into this policy.
  3. A common system should be devised to record and report the various types of individualized instruction. Students working with a faculty member should be signed up with that faculty member.
  4. A common system should be devised to record and report lab courses, 4000/5000 courses, team-taught courses, and other non-standard teaching arrangements.
  5. A policy addressing situations in which a faculty member teaches in other than his/her home department (e.g., Donaghey Scholars, International Studies) should be developed so as to enable cross-disciplinary programs to maintain faculty involvement and to encourage productive relationship among departments.
  6. Departments should review their evaluation documents to assure that they accommodate varied instructional loads. In particular, faculty with reduced teaching assignments should be expected to be more productive in research or service than those without such reductions. Moreover, faculty should be evaluated in the annual review process for projects for which reassignments are granted.
  7. Decisions about new faculty appointments and replacements should be made in light of information gained from implementing the Faculty Instructional Load Policy.
  8. The provost and chancellor should seek to enhance the funds available for lecturers.

Source: UALR Faculty Senate, September 13, 1994
Revised:
Approved By:
Custodian: